Middle Grades

*Bright April by Marguerite De Angeli

Themes of loving nature, loving one's neighbor, and loving Truth are woven through Bright April, a story that gracefully handles racism and the dignity of ...
Read More

Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In Iceberg, a 12-year-old stowaway experiences history's worst maritime disaster. Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic, 2023, 339 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 ...
Read More

Nonfiction Picture Books: Concrete; Luminous; The Animal Toolkit; The Universe in You; Digestion: The Musical

Outstanding picture books from 2022 feature the story of a ubiquitous building material, unusual animals, basic particle physics, and a different take on the topic ...
Read More

School Trip by Jerry Craft

School Trip, a companion novel to Newbery-winning New Kid, launches the Riverdale Academy students on a tour of Paris. School Trip by Jerry Craft. Quill ...
Read More

A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat

In A First Time for Everything, Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat looks back on a life-changing tour of Europe as a 13-year-old. A First Time for ...
Read More

Not an Easy Win by Chrystal D. Giles

Not an Easy Win is the encouraging story of a displaced young man finding purpose and life lessons in the game of chess. Not an ...
Read More

Noticing by Kobi Yomada

Noticing, a picture book for tweens and older, beautifully illustrates the point that “One of the best things you can be is interested.” Noticing by ...
Read More

Honey and Me by Meira Drazin

Honey and Me explores the fun and challenge of middle-grade friendship in the context of the Orthodox Jewish community. Honey and Me by Meira Drazin. ...
Read More
cover of liar & spy

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Spare and sensitive, Liar & Spy is a warm-hearted middle-grades story about two lonely boys who form a deep, abiding friendship. Liar & Spy by ...
Read More

CSK Illlustrator Roundup: Standing in the Need of Prayer, Me and the Boss, and The Talk

The Coretta Scott King award, an prominent part of the annual ALA Youth Media Awards, honors African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for ...
Read More
cover of Bright Island

Bright Island by Mabel Robinson (Retro Reads)

In this "Retro Reads" book, homeschooled Thankful Curtis must leave her beloved island to brave the mainland and boarding school. Bright Island by Mabel Robinson. ...
Read More

Princess of the Wild Sea by Megan Frazer Blakemore

A twist on Sleeping Beauty, Princess of the Wild Sea explores the concept of heroism and the danger and reward of risk-taking. Princess of the ...
Read More

Victory, Stand! by Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes

Victory, Stand!, this year's ALA YA nonfiction award winner, tells the story of the notorious "Olympic fist" from a point of view that makes it ...
Read More
cover of At Jerusalem's Gate

At Jerusalem’s Gate by Nikki Grimes

At Jersualem's Gate offers poetic meditations on what people involved in the events leading to Christ's resurrection might have thought and felt. At Jerusalem's Gate: ...
Read More
cover of mrs frisby and the rats of nimh

*Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

A glorious story of heroism in which a mother's deep love for her children shines brightly. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert ...
Read More
really radical book for kids

The Really Radical Book for Kids by Champ Thornton

A tremendous follow-up to The Radical Book for Kids, The Really Radical Book for Kids offers plenty of trivia along with plenty of thoughts to ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Winner: Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Freewater, this year's Newbery Medal winner, is as much an adventure tale as little-known history. Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson. Little, Brown (James Patterson Presents), 2022, ...
Read More
When Winter Robeson Came

When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods

History and a summer adventure combine in an engaging, slim, novel-in-verse for middle grade readers. When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods. Nancy Paulsen Books, ...
Read More

A Place for Peter by Elizabeth Yates

A Place for Peter is a good choice for boys who are avid readers and enjoy character-driven, literary coming-of-age stories, or families who are looking ...
Read More

Caldecott Honor Roundup: Ain’t Burned All the Bright, Berry Song, Choosing Brave, and Knight Owl

This year's Caldecott honor books explore a range of moods from wistful to whimsical. Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason ...
Read More

The British Are Coming (Young Reader Ed.) by Rick Atkinson

The British Are Coming recounts the first 4 years of the American Revolution in an engaging style, capturing substance and detail. The British Are Coming ...
Read More

Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait by Leonard S. Marcus

Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait is an unusual and touching look at our nation's 16th president through the then-new medium of photography. Mr. Lincoln ...
Read More

Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls by Atinuke

"Too Small Tola" returns in a second volume of this warm-hearted series of Nigerian family life. Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls by ...
Read More
love and laughter

Love and Laughter Book List

A Valentine's Day list of books that celebrate family love and wholesome romance. It’s the season of hearts and flowers and chocolate. Valentine’s Day is ...
Read More

Windswept by Margi Preus

Windswept is a lovely fantasy/fairy tale of children learning to take on the responsibility of stewardship through story, service, and sacrifice. Windswept by Margi Preus. ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Buzz Roundup #2: Frizzy, How to Build a Human, and Attack of the Black Rectangles

The American Library Association will announce the winners of its very influential Youth Media Awards, headed by the Newbery and Caldecott. Since we can't help ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Buzz #4: Jack Zulu

Does an independently published novel like Jack Zulu have what it takes to win the Newbery? We're back with Newbery Buzz Discussion #4 for 2023. ...
Read More

*A Dragon Used to Live Here by Annette LeBlanc Cate

In a whimsical tale within a tale, two royal children discover that their castle (and their own mother!) have a very interesting past. A Dragon ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Buzz #3: Northwind

Might Gary Paulsen's last novel be a sentimental favorite for Newbery recognition? The State of Nature Betsy: Janie, this is only the second Paulsen book ...
Read More

Newbery Roundup #1: Freestyle, Swim Team, and Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Three novels for middle-grades that may be under consideration for this year's top prize Freestyle by Gale Galligan. Graphix; (Scholastic), 2022, 322 pages. (Ages 10-14) ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Buzz #2: The Door of No Return

Back for our second buzz, Janie and Betsy talk over a troubling but moving verse novel. Out of Africa Janie: Kwame Alexander scored a gold ...
Read More

The Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson

In The Lucky Ones, an impoverished family in the rural south takes a big step up during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. The ...
Read More
wintry stories

Wintry Stories: A Book List for Middle Grades and Teens

Whether you live in a place with snow or not, January is the perfect month for a cozy snow story (or three). Look for some ...
Read More

2023 Newbery Buzz #1: A Rover’s Story

It's that time again, readers! The hour for selecting winners of the world's most prestigious children's book award draws near. Redeemed Reader has little (that ...
Read More

The Real Dada Mother Goose by Jon Scieszka

In The Real Dada Mother Goose, popular humorist Jon Scieszka subjects familiar nursery rhymes to every possible variation. The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury ...
Read More

Out of Range by Heidi Lang

Out of Range puts three warring sisters into a life-or-death situation that will destroy their bond—and perhaps their lives—or restore it. Out of Range by ...
Read More

Looking for True by Tricia Springstubb

In Looking for True, A lonely boy and a frustrated girl find common cause in rescuing a dog from its neglectful owner. Looking for True ...
Read More

Unbreakable by Rebecca Barone

Unbreakable makes the complicated story of unlocking the Enigma code accessible for young readers. Unbreakable: The Spies Who Cracked the Nazis' Secret Code by Rebecca ...
Read More

Peace Is a Chain Reaction by Tanya Lee Stone

Peace Is a Chain Reaction tells a little-known story of World War II and how former enemies of opposite sides of an ocean came together ...
Read More

Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure is a realistic but heartwarming animal tale of loyalty and friendship. Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure by Megan ...
Read More

Gladys Hunt on Christmas Books

Editor's Note: Is reading aloud beside the Christmas tree one of your family's holiday traditions? If so, you'll want to copy & paste this list ...
Read More
Cover of The Star that Always Stays

*The Star that Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson

In a debut novel reminiscent of Maud Hart Lovelace and Laura Ingalls Wilder, a young girl discovers new friends, family, and hope. *The Star that ...
Read More

The Rat Queen by Pete Hautman

Though not for every reader, The Rat Queen effectively exposes the harm caused to individual souls by hiding or excusing their own sins. The Rat ...
Read More

A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga

A Rover's Story employs an unusual protagonist to celebrate science, space exploration, and humanity. A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga. Balzer+Bray, 2022, 294 pages. Reading ...
Read More

Home for Christmas, edited by Miriam LeBlanc

Home for Christmas is a lovely, literary collection of stories, old and new, that highlight the "spirit" of Christmas. Home for Christmas: Stories for Young ...
Read More

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

The Door of No Return uses beautifully modulated verse to communicate the humanity of the Ashanti people and the horrors of the African slave trade. ...
Read More

Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack

Black Bird, Blue Road is set in a neglected period of world history and explores the subject of death through a lens of Jewish mythology. ...
Read More

Are Cozy Animal Stories Cozying up to Gay Ideology?

One of our readers alerted us to Katherine Applegate’s latest book, as it seemed to her to feature a lesbian relationship. Odder, picturing a beyond-cute ...
Read More

Contending for the Faith by Joel Beeke and William Boekestein

Contending for the Faith takes readers back to the English Reformation and the origins of the Westminster Confession. Contending for the Faith: The Story of ...
Read More

Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

Wildoak is a gentle story about a girl finding a voice and a cause in the natural world. Wildoak by C. C. Harrigan. Scholastic, 2022, ...
Read More

Violet and Jobie in the Wild by Lynne Rae Perkins

Mouse siblings Violet and Jobie must suddenly fend for themselves in a world both terrifying and lovely. Violet & Jobie in the Wild by Lynn ...
Read More

*Church History by Simonetta Carr

Simonetta Carr’s Church History is a must-have for Christian families, good for years of reference and encouragement. *Church History by Simonetta Carr. Reformation Heritage, 265 ...
Read More

Our Hymns, Our Heritage by David and Barbara Leeman

The Leeman’s excellent student hymnal has been republished by Moody Press, with additional songs and supplements. *Our Hymns, Our Heritage: A Student Guide to Songs ...
Read More

*Jack Zulu and the Waylander’s Key by S.D. Smith and J. C. Smith

Jack Zulu finds adventure where he least expects it in this new middle grades fantasy series opener from S. D. Smith. Jack Zulu and the ...
Read More

The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekrs, one of our favorite families, is on the road to discovery, opportunity, and possibly romance. The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan ...
Read More

Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks

Ride On is an equestrian graphic novel that horse aficionados will devour. Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, 2022, 218 pages. Reading Level: ...
Read More

Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd

Hummingbird features a plucky protagonist with a debilitating bone disease—who doesn’t see herself as debilitated. Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd. Scholastic, 2022, 348 pages. Reading Level: ...
Read More

Yonder by Ali Standish

Yonder is a thoughtful and moving historical novel about the nature of heroism. Yonder by Ali Standish. Harper, 2022, 348 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ...
Read More

Labor Day: Books about Work

Readers: this is an adaptation of one of the first posts on Redeemed Reader, way back in 2011 (written by Emily Whitten, the "I" in ...
Read More

Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Lines of Courage follows five young protagonists through the epoch-making carnage of World War I. Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press, 2022, ...
Read More

Brand New Kid by David Almond

Brand New Boy explores the "humanity" of manufactured humans through the eyes of curious middle-school students. Brand New Boy by David Almond, with pictures by ...
Read More

Quick Summer Reads: Treasure Tracks, High Score, and Wretched Waterpark

Three entertaining novels for the adventure-seeker, the heist-lover, and the doom-aficionado. Treasure Tracks by S. A. Rodriguez. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2022, 214 pages. Reading Level: ...
Read More

*Marshmallow Clouds by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek

In Marshmallow Clouds, two poets look at the world, both the sublime and the mundane, through expressive wordplay. *Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among ...
Read More

The Islanders: Search for Treasure by Mary Alice Monroe

The Islanders Series features three friends spending enlightening and adventure-filled summers on an island off the coast of South Carolina. The Islanders: Search for Treasure ...
Read More

The Homework Squad’s ADHD Guide to School Success by Joshua Shifrin

The “Homework Squad” shows attention-challenged students how to study smarter. The Homework Squad’s ADHD Guide to School Success by Joshua Shifrin, PhD, illustrated by Tracy ...
Read More

Graphic-Novel History: History Comics and Who HQ

Telling history and science through pictures is an obvious way to teach, but watch out when a series attempts to do more than communicate the ...
Read More

Back to School Books for Middle School

Is it back to school time already? Depending on which part of the country you live in, some schools will be starting up in the ...
Read More

Spineless by Samantha San Miguel

A sickly young man finds both adventure and wisdom in Spineless, an enjoyable debut novel set in turn-of-the-century Florida. Spineless by Samantha San Miguel. Union ...
Read More

Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by Chris Grabenstein

Fans of Mr. Lemoncello's world of puzzles and games will enjoy this story of how he got his start. Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by ...
Read More

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A. F. Steadman

The much-hyped fantasy series opener Skandar and the Unicorn Thief breaks new ground in unicorn lore. Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A. F. Steadman. ...
Read More

Your Pal Fred by Michael Rex

A fun graphic novel for young middle-graders, Your Pal Fred pictures a dystopian world startled by kindness. Your Pal Fred by Michael Rex. Viking, 2022, ...
Read More

*Wonderfull: Ancient Psalms Ever New by Marty Machowski

Wonderfull is a guide to the Psalms that introduces young people to modeling their devotional life after that of the Psalmist. Wonderfull: Ancient Psalms Ever ...
Read More

Picture Books about Nature: Be Thankful for Trees, Yoshi and the Ocean, and The Whale Who Swam Through Time

The Blessing of a Tree Be Thankful for Trees by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald. Red Comet Press, 2022, 80 pages. Reading Level: Picture ...
Read More

New From Here by Kelly Yang

New from Here looks at the recent pandemic through the perspective of an Asian-American family hoping to escape the virus in California. New from Here ...
Read More

Trapped in Terror Bay by Sigmund Brouwer

Trapped in Terror Bay takes readers into the mystery of the ill-fated Arctic voyage of the Franklin Expedition, 1845. Trapped in Terror Bay: Solving the ...
Read More

Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos

Cookies & Milk is an enjoyable fictionalized account of the world’s first chocolate-chip cookie store and the launch of a “famous” business. Cookies & Milk ...
Read More

Crazy Horse and Custer: Born Enemies by S. D. Nelson

Crazy Horse and Custer: Born Enemies addresses the bloody and complex history of the U.S. Indian Wars with honesty and clarity. Crazy Horse and Custer: ...
Read More

The Shelter and the Fence by Herman H. Finkelstein

The Shelter and the Fence relates the heartening history of how nearly 1000 Jewish refugees found welcome in America during World War II. The Shelter ...
Read More
born behind bars

Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatramen

When Kabir leaves jail at age nine, he enters a world unknown to him: the free world. A delicate and sensitive novel for middle grades. ...
Read More

My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk

My Own Lightning follows the author’s previous Newbery-honored novel, Wolf Hollow, with a more hopeful conclusion. My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk. Dutton, 2022, 307 ...
Read More

Rip to the Rescue

Rip to the Rescue is a true-to-life World War II adventure featuring heroic teens and one heroic dog. Rip to the Rescue by Miriam Halahmy. ...
Read More

Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

Two girls with big problems draw resilience from each other and the "Magic" of the Universe. Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo ...
Read More

The Dragon and the Stone (Dreamkeeper Saga #1) by Kathryn Butler

The Dreamkeeper Saga weaves Christian themes, Arthurian legend, and reliable fantasy tropes into a promising series for middle-graders. The Dragon and the Stone (Dreamkeeper Saga ...
Read More

*God’s Attributes by Jill Nelson

God’s Attributes is an accessible, kid-friendly way to approach the greatness of God as we learn to trust Him. *God’s Attributes by Jill Nelson. P&R, ...
Read More

Endlessly Ever After by Laurel Snyder and Dan Santat

Endlessly Ever After allows readers to mix and match traditional tales to the tune of catchy rhymes and lavish illustrations. Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your ...
Read More

The Woman Who Split the Atom by Marissa Moss

Brilliant physicist Lise Meitner, overlooked by history, receives her due in this well-written and -illustrated biography. The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of ...
Read More

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

In The Last Mapmaker, a low-born but spirited girl, an aged craftsman, and high stakes at sea make for a satisfying adventure. The Last Mapmaker ...
Read More

The Elk King by Jenn Discher

Can the Elk King guard and protect the animals of Glenariff in the face of treachery? This talking animal story will delight fans of The ...
Read More

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles by Champ Thornton

The Serpent Slayer and the Scroll of Riddles adapts adult theology to a middle-grade audience, wrapped in an adventure story. The Serpent Slayer and the ...
Read More

Alice’s Farm: a Rabbit’s Tale by Maryrose Wood

Alice and her brother Thistle try to save a human's farm in this sweet animal story by the author of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton ...
Read More

Hilde on Record by Hilde Lysiak

Hilde Lysiak, whose doggedness as a 9-year-old investigative reporter made her a star of journalism, tells her own story. Hilde on the Record: Memoir of ...
Read More

Alias Anna by Susan Hood and Greg Dawson

In free verse, Alias Anna tells the story of surviving the Holocaust in Ukraine by hiding in plain sight. Alias Anna: A True Story of ...
Read More

Just a Girl by Lia Levi

Italian author Lia Levi adapts her memoir, Just a Girl, for young children, resulting in a fine early introduction to WWII and the Holocaust. Just ...
Read More

Glass Slippers by Leah Cypress

Glass Slippers reimagines the Cinderella story through the eyes of a third stepsister who is trying to sort truth from lies. Glass Slippers by Leah ...
Read More

Polo Cowboy by G. Neri

Cole learns to be a polo cowboy despite bullying and prejudice in this interesting follow-up to Ghetto Cowboy. Polo Cowboy by G. Neri and illustrated ...
Read More

The School for Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix

In The School for Whatnots, popular children's author Margaret Peterson Haddix explores how good intentions go awry. The School for Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix. ...
Read More

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

In The Ogress and the Orphans, a winning fairytale, kindness and love overcome suspicion. The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill. Algonquin, 2022, 390 ...
Read More

The Aquanaut by Dan Santat

The Aquanaut packs unexpected heart into a fantastical story from the ocean depths. The Aquanaut by Dan Santat. Scholastic Graphix, 2022, 243 pages Reading Level: ...
Read More

Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire

Cress Watercress, a young rabbit suddenly fatherless, finds strength and purpose in this beautifully written tale. Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire, illustrated by David Litchfield. ...
Read More

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner 

Wake Up Missing mixes science with science fiction: DNA manipulation, nefarious plots, and excitement. Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner. Walker Childrens, 2013. 272 pages. ...
Read More